Recent Changes in Family Law Move-Away Cases: (1) Navigating Between the "Best Interests of the Child" Rule and the "Changed Circumstances" Rule and (2) Courts Required to Assume that Parent Will Absolutely Move
Los Angeles Post-Judgment Order Lawyer: Modifying Parenting Time Agreements
In many cases of divorce or legal separation, circumstances change following a family law judgment, warranting modification of a custody and visitation schedule. Modifications are usually applicable if there was a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent moving away or a child requiring more time in a single home for school and extracurricular activity purposes.
Going separate ways after divorce can mean that one or both parties relocate to another town, another state or even outside of the United States. When children are involved, this separation can lead to a highly contested battle over custody and visitation. Click here for a review of the latest move-away cases.
The family law attorneys of Cooper-Gordon LLP have extensive experience in relocation disputes, at the time of separation or long after a divorce. We represent parents in Santa Monica, the South Bay, West L.A. and the greater Los Angeles area who are petitioning to relocate with their children, as well as parents who object to the proposed move. Although our goal is to settle cases in order to achieve the highest level of client satisfaction, when a case is contested, we are prepared to represent our clients zealously in court to protect their interests.
The attorneys of Cooper-Gordon LLP have been serving individuals and families in the Los Angeles area since 1979. We will discuss the various changes in your life circumstances and advise you on whether it is appropriate to modify a custody court order.
Call us at 800-561-6322 to arrange a consultation with an experienced Santa Monica modification of custody attorney.
The Modification Process
The reasons for requesting a modification of High Conflict Custody & Visitation vary widely depending on an individual's and family's situation. The process of modification also may vary according to the extent of the change. For those seeking a change in custody because an older child requests it, the process may simply require signing a new agreement. If one parent wants to move out of state with younger children, the issue becomes much more complex.
Customarily, one party will request the modification and a new plan will be negotiated between the parties. If the modification is disputed or if the parties cannot come to a reasonable conclusion, litigation may be necessary to modify the plan to meet the needs and best interests of the children involved.
The parent who wants to relocate must demonstrate a legitimate reason, such as a new job, family support or remarriage, and the move must be in the best interests of the child. A parent who opposes the move likewise has a burden to show a detriment to the child or intent to cut the non-custodial parent out of the picture.
Relocation law and litigation is very complex and always changing. Even as recently as this
summer, there have been changes to the law in move-away cases and nonparent visitation cases. Parental relocation cases are anything but simple, but they do not have to be expensive and contentious courtroom battles. The attorneys at Cooper-Gordon LLP help clients understand their rights and how a judge would most likely rule. We help clients understand the impact of the relocation on their child(ren) and the child(ren)'s relationship with the other parent. With the use of experts or negotiating with the opposing party we can help create creative, workable solutions for complicated situations.
No matter what the situation, modification of custody and visitation must be completed through family law court, even if the parents agreed to the new arrangement in order to help avoid legal problems in the future. For instance, should a party not follow a court-documented parenting plan, he or she may be found in contempt of court.
We have handled relocations within Los Angeles and to other parts of California, as well as the more complicated scenarios of interstate or international relocations. Move-away cases typically require modification of the original custody order. New parenting plans generally address the following:
- Increased visitation in the summer
- Holidays and vacations
- Shared costs of travel
- Exchanges (pick-up/drop-off)
- Communication (via e-mail, telephone, and skype) between visits
- Joint parenting decisions
Through negotiation or mediation, we help parents prioritize the needs of their children while creating parenting plans in order to avoid costly litigation. When the other parent is unreasonable or has impure motives for seeking or challenging a move, the attorneys at Cooper-Gordon LLP will vigorously represent their clients' interests in order to protect the best interests of the children involved.
The attorneys at Cooper-Gordon LLP can discuss various options. Depending on your circumstances and overall goals, we will work to obtain the modification solution that is best for you.
Contact a Modification of Custody Lawyer
For a consultation with a Santa Monica family lawyer at Cooper-Gordon LLP, call us at 800-561-6322, or contact us online. We offer initial consultations at a reduced rate.